Secretary-General's remarks at Press EncounterJul 3, 2015
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
Thank you for taking the time.
It is wonderful to visit Barbados once again. This is my second time as Secretary-General of the United Nations and to have the privilege of attending a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit for my again second time as Secretary-General.
I have had a short but full visit – including very productive discussions with the Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart [of Barbados], and other government leaders yesterday.
Today I had some bilateral meetings with the leaders of the region. I have also had a chance to meet with a cross-section of representatives from throughout civil society. I have come just now from a stimulating and encouraging dialogue with students at the University of the West Indies.
Before I leave this afternoon, I look forward to having a working lunch with CARICOM leaders, right after this press conference. I am visiting the region at a crucial time in our global efforts to build a life of dignity for all.
Over the next six months, the international community aims to set an ambitious sustainable development agenda with goals and financing. At the same time, governments have agreed to reach a universal and ambitious climate agreement at the Paris Climate Conference in December.
I told Prime Minister Stuart that I was very encouraged by Barbados’ ambitious renewable energy targets. We are at a critical stage in all these efforts – and it is essential that the voices and concerns of Small Island Developing States are heard and fully reflected as we move ahead.
Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. And I will take a few questions now.
Q: Secretary General you have been meeting with the Guyanese President earlier in the day and you said, you would send a team to Guyana. Can you say how soon that would be and what would be the goal of that team?
SG: We have been discussing this matter. I know that there is dispute over the territorial, over the territories between Guyana and Venezuela, and as you may know, I have appointed a Special Envoy, who has been discussing this matter between the two countries.
Unfortunately he passed away. We discussed with President [David Arthur] Granger for the way forward. I offered the United Nations’ willingness to provide good offices.
My Chef de Cabinet, my Chief of Staff, is also going to have a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Venezuela today so we will see and if agreeable, I may be dispatching some mission to both countries to find out how and in what way whether they are ready or interested in the United Nations’ good offices role. I will keep you informed when there is development. Thank you.
Q: Were you able to have any bilateral meeting with the President of Haiti and if so what was the outcome as relates to the issue with citizenship matters with Dominican Republic?
SG: I met him [President Michel Joseph Martelly] briefly yesterday on the margins of this meeting but not in a formal way and I am aware of concerns of this issue between Dominican Republic and Haiti. First of all, I congratulated that elections is going to be held and United Nations is ready to provide all technical support so that these elections can be conducted in a peaceful and credible manner.
Now about this current issue between the two, as I have said in my remarks at the opening of the CARICOM Summit meeting yesterday, I share concerns about citizenship issues on the land, island of Hispaniola.
I have discussed this with the President of Dominican Republic and trust that there will be further progress in resolving this matter - protecting the rights of affected persons and also preventing the deprivation of nationality. This is a matter of human rights and human dignity. I am encouraged that Dominican Republic and Haiti have maintained bi-national dialogue during challenging time. I strongly believe that it is critical for them to engage in a frank and constructive dialogue.
Q: You said you spoke to Prime Minister Stuart about climate change issues. The islands of the region are suffering from the Sargassum seaweed. Can we expect any help from the international community or the United Nations in dealing with this development?
SG: The main vision of climate change support for affected countries like Small Island Developing States and the other Least Developed Countries who do not have much capacity to mitigate and adapt to this climate change impact, is to mobilize US$100 billion by 2020 and thereafter, provide annually US$100 billion dollars.
We have already established Green Climate Fund and US$10 billion have already been mobilized as initial capitalization, as of December last year, but we need to have much more and I’m in the process of discussing this matter with the Member States.
They are still some issues to be resolved to be able to have climate change agreement adopted in December but several pending issues among member states, this financial support and technological support - they are the key issues. Therefore, I am already in the process of discussing this matter.
On Wednesday, just two days ago, I have discussed with President [François] Hollande of France and also Chancellor [Angela] Merkel of Germany in her capacity as the G7 Summit Chair and President Hollande in his capacity as Presidency of COP 21. We agreed to work very closely with the World Bank and IMF to first of all find out methodologies - how to mobilize this US$100 billion. This is a pledge already made in 2009 during Copenhagen Summit meeting. It is now I hope we will be able to have a good framework to mobilize this one and present it to the Member States when we meet in Paris.